EU must find a way to help broker a solution
Madrid and Barcelona are on a clear collision course and the future of the EU's fifth largest member state is called into question. The formal lines in this one are clear as no EU element can question existing borders.
But this stand-off, characterised by extraordinary obduracy on both sides, is crying out for effective mediation to crack heads together and make people see sense. It is the first time that any EU member state has faced a major internal division.
But many large EU countries have their potential regional fissures which could boil over into separatist conflict in a given set of circumstances. That makes any room for manoeuvre extremely limited indeed - but it does not rule out finding ways to help defuse conflict.